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Travelling Funfairs (Licensing) (Scotland) Bill


Operators of travelling funfairs in Scotland need to have a public entertainment licence.  This is a licence that the operators have to apply for through the local council. Operators are usually families known as “showpeople”.  The local council can charge operators for a licence and can decide not to grant a licence. This would mean that the funfair could not take place. Every local council can decide how much to charge and the time it takes to consider an application can vary.

This Bill changes the system for anyone applying for licences. It also changes how local councils decide whether to grant them. Operators will still need a licence to hold a travelling funfair under this Bill. A local council must grant the licence within 21 days as long as an operator meets certain application requirements.  A licence may be refused only for one of the reasons given in the Bill.  If a local council does not come to a decision within 21 days, the licence will be automatically granted. 

The Bill also changes the fees for applying for a licence. Each application will cost £50. This is cheaper than licence applications currently cost in most local council areas.

The Bill does other related things like:

  • making procedures for adding certain conditions to licences

  • allowing appeals against a decision by a local council

  • allowing local councils to search and inspect travelling funfairs

The Bill makes no changes to health and safety requirements and standards. These are dealt with by other laws.

You can find out more in the document prepared on behalf of Richard Lyle MSP that explains the Bill.

Why the Bill was created

The member in charge of the Bill, Richard Lyle MSP, believes that the current law and practices threaten the survival of showpeople. The Bill is designed to make it easier for operators to put on travelling funfairs in Scotland. It creates a new licensing process which Richard Lyle believes would be is simple, consistent, fair and proportionate.

Richard Lyle’s view is that the Bill is needed to protect showpeople’s way of living. It also aims for funfairs to continue to be an aspect of 21st century life in Scotland, across the country. 

You can find out more in the document prepared on behalf of Richard Lyle MSP that explains the Bill.

The Travelling Funfairs (Licensing) (Scotland) Bill is currently at Stage 1


The Member in charge of the Bill, Richard Lyle MSP sends the Bill and the related documents to the Parliament. 

Bill as introduced Travelling Funfairs (Licensing) (Scotland) Bill 

Additional Member in charge

An additional member in charge is another member designated by the member in charge. Designation of another member as member in charge can be made at any time, but is normally made at the time of introduction. It gives the member who introduced the Bill an assurance that any necessary procedural steps can still be taken if they are unavailable for a period or on a particular occasion. David Torrance, MSP is the additional member in charge for the Travelling Funfairs (Licensing) (Scotland) Bill. 

Financial Resolution

The Presiding Officer has decided under Rule 9.12 of Standing Orders that a financial resolution is not required for this Bill.

Stage 1 - General principles

Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.

Have your say

The deadline for sharing your views on this Bill is 7 December 2020. Submit your views here.

Who examined the Bill

Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.

It looks at everything to do with the Bill.

Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.

What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation is sometimes called 'subordinate' or 'delegated' legislation. It can be used to:

  • bring a section or sections of a law that’s already been passed, into force

  • give details of how a law will be applied

  • make changes to the law without a new Act having to be passed

An Act is a Bill that’s been approved by Parliament and given Royal Assent (formally approved).

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